BlogLease ManagementBeware the Fine Print in Commercial Leases

Beware the Fine Print in Commercial Leases

You know what the old-timers always say:

Commercial real estate leases are just like college scholarships.

OK – no one has ever said that. As far as I know.

But there is a little nugget of truth in that sentence.

The full-ride college scholarship is a fantastic thing. I have one kid still in high school, but two have already graduated and received generous scholarships. I’m not much of a numbers guy, but I can explain how this works with a hypothetical situation.

Let’s say your child’s tuition, student fees, and all the other miscellaneous goodies add up to $10 per semester. Now if the planets aligned and the kid received a scholarship worth $10 per semester, then you pay …

… ZERO DOLLARS per semester.

Even I know that’s a pretty solid deal.

The Fine Print

When Son No. 2 left sunny Florida for school in Chicago, he immediately started learning valuable skills such as, “Frostbite Avoidance,” “Deep Dish Pizza Orientation,” and “Chicken Wing Budget Optimization.” But he somehow missed the lesson titled, “Check Your Student Account for Fees Not Covered by the Scholarship.”

Everything was cool until the day he couldn’t click “accept” to confirm his classes for the next semester. A few minutes later, I received this text:

“The school wants money.”

Ahhhh – 19-year-old boys. So full of detail. So I dug in and figured out what was going on.

Remember in my hypothetical scenario above where I mentioned, “tuition, student fees, and all the other miscellaneous goodies?”

It turns out not all those fees and goodies are covered by his scholarship.


Full transparency here: I’m partly to blame. Somewhere deep in the fine print of the boy’s scholarship offer, there were details about what wasn’t covered.

Maybe I completely blew past that section. Or perhaps I knew about the fees at one point and then spaced out on them. I have a lot going on in my life, and there’s only so much room for minutiae. Which is something business owners deal with every day.

Familiar Territory

At that moment, I had a good sense of what it feels like to be a tenant who just found out about a rent escalation that was supposed to have kicked in months earlier. And like that tenant, I would have been a whole lot happier if they gave me more of a heads-up so I could plan for the expense.

Owners and managers who operate commercial real estate don’t like giving tenants bad news. Because when you run small commercial buildings, relationships mean everything.

Sure, maybe there’s a vague awareness that the rent will increase at some point. But when you’re trying to run a business, that’s probably not top-of-mind.

And hitting a business owner in the wallet is not good for the relationship.

Leasecake eliminates those awkward situations by remembering lease details, sending reminders, and streamlining communications. It’s the first lease management platform designed specifically for small- to medium-sized commercial real estate managers, tenants, and brokers. We put all the important dates and numbers in the palm of your hand through your mobile device, and in a desktop version for anyone back in the office.

If you’re searching for a more satisfying lease management experience, then we’d love to help. Let’s schedule a demo to show you how easy lease management can be. 

And if you happen to run a pizza joint in Chicago, then we might have to come see you in person.

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